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Monday, August 6, 2018

EVOLUTION OF THE BLUE REVOLUTION

Day 96 of the Lower Puna Eruption, and the lava flow from fissure #8 has dramatically dropped, while activity at the summit of Kilauea Volcano has almost stopped.  The end?  Nope, according to the USGS, for like most government agencies, they are obligated to show over-caution.

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I have been retired from the University of Hawaii for almost two decades.  I still retain an office on the Manoa Campus, primarily to establish an academic foundation for the Blue Revolution.  Progress has been so slow that this effort could better be termed the Blue Evolution.

Full commercialization of the cornucopia of potential sustainable products could well be a quarter century away, but the fundamental R&D to maximize long term success needs to be initiated today.  There is no better economic future, certainly for Hawaii, being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but also too, for the entire world, as the next frontier for human progress will not be in outer space, it will be in the open ocean in harmony with the marine environment.  The International Space Station cost $150 billion and will crash into the ocean within the next decade without selling one major commercial product.

Much of our oceans between the 20 north and south parallels surrounding the equator is a sea with warmer waters (up to 35 C or  95 F) at the surface and pathogen free and nutrient rich fluids at 4 C (39 F) at a depth of 1000 meters.  This temperature differential can be utilized to create electricity.


These deeper waters are also very high in nutrients, at the exact composition (Redfield ratio) desirable for bio-growth near the surface in the photic zone.


Thus after you extract the heat for power, this fluid is akin to bringing up free fertilizer to feed biomass plantations and initiate phytoplankton growth to support next generation fisheries through the ultimate ocean ranch.  So that is the Blue Revolution:  a sustainable marine system powered by OTEC to produce clean energy, food, future habitats and a range of other benefits, while remediating global warming and eliminating the formation of hurricanes.

The Seasteading Institute (SI) with headquarters in San Francisco and Blue Revolution Hawaii  (BRH) have similar ultimate outcomes:  floating cities.  We are perfectly matched, for SI wants to immediately create a profit environment for their enterprises and has already succeeded in gaining funding from Peter Thiel.  More recently, they have formed a floating island partnership with French Polynesia.

BRH has proposed a $1.5 billion (1% of the International Space Station) Pacific International Ocean Station to develop the technology and systems to support what is to come.  We all agree that the key to success will start, not with traditional governmental or business financial support, but from an enlightened billionaire, or more, with a dream to Save Humanity and Planet Earth through something like the Blue Revolution.

What exactly is the Blue Revolution?  Watch my SI presentation on PIOS and OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion).  Here are three Huffington Post articles further explaining the concept, all published about a decade ago:
For the genesis of the Blue Revolution, you will need to go back nearly 40 years when Lockheed first succeeded with Mini-OTEC  in Hawaii, immediately leading to the first OTEC legislation I helped draft when I worked for the U.S. Senate.  


Returning to the University of Hawaii in 1982, I helped create the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, where my staff succeeded in a 210 kW open cycle OTEC experimental plant.   All this history is summarized in THE STORY OF THE BLUE REVOLUTION.

While the Seasteading Institute has maintained a commendable rate of progress, the rest of the world is in some state of coma, partly affected by the relatively low price of oil:


While current oil prices are up to $70/bbl, this is still far below the average of a few years ago.  But the blessing is that this current period is conveniently available for R&D.  To ratchet up development, something like the Pacific International Ocean Station will cost $1.5 billion, a sum out of the reach of governments and companies.  The only solution is an enlightened billionaire, and there are 2208 of them from 72 countries:


Numerous researchers at the University of Hawaii participated in many of the above efforts.  As I'm not a billionaire, the best I could do was endow my apartment to the University of Hawaii to initiate a Blue Revolution program.  Previously, Tadashi Matsunaga a quarter century ago served as the initial International Professor for the Blue Revolution.  He went on to become president of Tokyo University of A&T.  Today, Hiroaki Eto from Nihon University is using my office on the Manoa Campus to further internationalize this crusade.  His interest is in offshore structures and hydrogen.   


However, assignment in Hawaii is not all work, so Hiro and I had a Blue Revolution lunch under a coconut tree on Magic Island with a view of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head (and that's me on the bottom):


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Hurricane Hector remains a Category 4 at 140 MPH, but is expected to weaken into a 2 by Wednesday when south of Hawaii.  However, you look at where it is and you can't help but worry a bit about exactly where he will go:


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